Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perfect Time For Spray Millet

My Borders really enjoy my homemade millet swings!

Taking a moment to see what Big Bird is up to!


They also enjoy eating and climbing Millet loops!

Millet is a good high carbohydrate seed which along with other high carb foods such as oatmeal, canary seed, and wheat help birds finish the molt promptly!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

The two mid July hatching German Rollers are finishing their molt quickly but behind the other birds. Notice the feather shafts on this ones head.

Surprisingly, the one male is twittering along at the same stage as the other young males! Bird on the right is a hen and needs to moved out of his cage to prevent some song faults.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Questions and Tips for Big Bird!

Please use this post for unrelated questions and tips.

Sink Colander

Recently, I purchased this inexpensive sink colander at ALDI's.

The sides expand to fit any sink and is it ever handy for rinsing sprouting seeds. I am using a lot of sprouted wheat now to encourage the birds to finish the molt.

This summer has really gotten away from me and having this pumpkin sitting near my fireplace helps me get in touch with the fact that Fall is here and I better get ready for the upcoming Bird Shows!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bringing Out Border Confirmation

After working with Borders a number of years now, I have learned that this breed, whether due to poor adsorption or genetic expectation, requires more vitamins than most breeders would suspect. When they get adequate nutrients their heads, back and underline all improve. That can be the difference in getting Best Border and getting Best in Show!

The most amazing result are seen when Borders are fed the special wheat germ oil and vitamin coated seed sold only by Birds of Paradise from Wall Seed Company! This mix prepared by store owner Nancy Prestor is masterly coated so that it is not too much and not too little and will enhance Border Confirmation in just a few days! Call her at 316 263-0850 or 800 8782473. If you have Borders this is a must!!

In addition, my Borders get the poultry vitamins in the water, molting formula egg food daily containing petamine and scenic hand feeding vegetable protein based formula, crushed microwaved egg shells, oatmeal, peas and corn or broccoli, sprouted sunflower and wheat, ABBA green 92, and soft white bread.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Time Is Dinner?

This cute Border just landed on the clothes pin perch and is checking out my husband Pat's grilling!

Notice that the aviary is dimly lighted. This is important to reset the birds light sensitivity so that light will stimulate breeding condition when Spring comes.

Occasionally, as part of their show training, I place the show cage under bright light. I want the birds to associate performance or for song birds singing when they are suddenly exposed to bright light.

Critical Concept: Do not feed your birds in bright light. This prevents them from expecting to eat fresh food when bright lights are on. If you feed in bright light, you are unknowing teaching them to eat in bright light. Unfortunately, many show birds think that being put in bright light on the show bench is the signal that its dinner time!

Sometimes I get e-mail complaining that someones bird does not sing, all it is does is eat. Never feed the bird until after it has sang its heart out. Birds either sing or eat! Why sing when you can eat?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fixing The Messy Runway Look

This Stafford wearing its "Punk" hairstyle should get a fashion spread in Marie Clair Magazine but on the show bench it is toast!

Just got out of bed look is not cool at a bird show!

From the top it doesn't look so bad, so maybe if I pull a feather or two, I can fool the judge!

Notice the feathers growing the wrong direction on your left in the picture. Those have got to go!

After plucking the bird looks Much Better!!

Maybe, I should have sent it to New York, it will never look as good as this Stafford!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gain A Competitive Edge - Dolly Parton Makeover

This beautiful Stafford seems to be hiding something.

A clear view shows its "Dolly Parton" chest. Standing upright it would not be so unsightly but even then it is too obvious. After reading Dr. Oz, the extra grams have got to go!!

Two perches fairly high in the cage but not so high to encourage it to lay down on the perch. Water next to perches but food on the floor to encourage exercise. And for food its only petamine breeding formula! No high carb's for fatty!!

Its crest is developing nicely but a number of pin feathers still need to mature and lose their shaft. If a few shafts remain by its first show, I will brush them out gently with a toothbrush.

Thanks all of you bloggers for your sympathy during my time of grieving. Tosca was so special and human-like to us that he was a real member of the family.

Each morning, he refused to be taken out until each member of the family was up. He typically moved from room to room only going to the next room when you were up.

Another favorite memory is his bait and switch trick. Normally. we all sit down and have breakfast and dinner together. On occasion, when that is not possible, we fill our plate and eat alone. When Tosca saw this, he immediately runs and goes for the food on the counter. Fearing that there will not be anything to feed the others, I quickly run and rescue it only to return to my seat at the table and see him eating my food! He actually played this bait and switch trick on each of us, more than once!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Questions, Breeder Reports and Tips for Big Bird!

Last hatch German Roller is thinking about leaving the nest but a long ways from thinking about feeding its self !

Bella and Tosca on August 31st watching Pat cooking and hoping for a nibble.

Today, early this morning, Tosca had a major bleed from his tumor and after consulting the emergency vet, we put him to sleep. He was the most loving dog and even as he was being taken away, he wagged his tail at us. Many tears are being shed......

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quickening The Molt

With approximately 2000 feathers on each bird, the summer snow is really a mess! It is so light and fluffy that as I try to sweep them up they float away to a clean spot! Thank goodness they can not elude the shop vac!! I can't wait to get this years molt over, can you?

Only fit birds will molt and failure to molt is a sign of illness but the speed at which they molt is dependent not only on their health but also on their age, diet and weather. The later a chick hatches the quicker it will molt. Nature says to these late bloomers, "you have arrived at the party late, now catch up". In my rollers, my best singers are generally the late bloomers, who get weaned only to start the molt and skip the baby twittering.

With feathers being primarily protein, supplying extra protein in nestling food helps speed the process initially. My recipe for molting nestling food was printed July 20th on the blog.

When a broad tract of pin feathers are clearly seen on the top of the head, it is time to cut back on the amount and frequency of protein and increase the carbohydrates in the diet. A small amount of egg containing nestling food should be fed once a day and continue till the molt is finished. After the hens quit trying to nest and showing signs of molting on their wing butts, the hens, like the other birds, get the nestling food once daily. Immediately, their appearance improves better than a trip to the spa!

Its time to increase the portion of carbohydrate in the diet by feeding either regular human oatmeal or steel cut oats. If you are not feeding white bread, this is a good time to feed it once daily to tame the birds, and help finish the molt. Canary seed should be increased and continue increasing in the seed mix and decreasing fattening sunflower pieces for most birds which are shown for type or color.

Refined singers such as German Rollers need the rape seed increased and canary decreased to promote high quality sound at the expense of a quick finish. They also still will need some sunflower pieces and bread to fatten them up for show training.

All additional lighting should either be off or set at no more than nine hours daily. Once song training begins, competition song birds should be on 10.5 hours. Moving up to a maximum of 11 hours per day can be done if necessary for more frequency but some quality may be lost. Day length must be consistent and only moving forward once song training begins.

Falling temperatures signaling the season change is also very helpful. Last night, a cold front came through dropping temperatures from the high of 88 to a low overnight of 56. Great time to open the screen covered windows and let the cool air signal the birds that its time to start getting out their winter coat!